Nova Scotia High School Diploma for Adults - Implementation
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Introduction to: Nova Scotia High School Diploma for Adults - Implementation Handbook and Intake Assessment Guidelines: for Organizations Offering the Nova Scotia High School Diplom a for Adults This is a summary of two documents which have been produced by two multi-stakeholder committees of the Department of Education’s Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning. The first document is the Nova Scotia High School Diploma for Adults - Implementation Handbook from the Diploma Implementation Task Team. The second document, the Intake Assessment Guidelines: for Organizations Offering the Nova Scotia High School Diploma for Adults, was developed through the Student Assessment Working Group. This introduction plus copies of the two documents can be found at http://doc-depot.ednet.ns.ca/ under the heading “Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning.” Background The Nova Scotia Department of Education has launched a major new adult learning initiative aimed at creating a more coordinated system for adults seeking to upgrade their literacy and numeracy skills and/or complete their high school or secondary education. The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning is the administrative body within the Adult Education Section of the Department of Education that is responsible for the programs and services that support the system. The School will work in partnership with existing program delivery organizations such as School Board Adult High Schools, Nova Scotia Community College, Collège de l’Acadie and community-based learning organizations. The School will ensure that there is a continuum of educational programs that meet the needs of adults for improved accessibility to and mobility among educational programs, recognized and transferable learning and credentials, and quality program delivery. Funding for this initiative is provided by the Departments of Education and Community Services, and Human Resources Development Canada. As part of this initiative, the Department has developed a new Nova Scotia High School Diploma for Adults. Through the delivery organizations mandated by the School for Adult Learning, adults will earn credits toward the High School Diploma for Adults. Adults may earn the 12 credits required for this diploma through two programs: the Public School Program and the Adult Learning Program. The Diploma will also acknowledge participants’ prior education and life experience. Adult Nova Scotians must be 19 years of age or older and out of public school for at least one year to be eligible for the diploma. They must not already hold a Department of Education recognized High School Graduation Diploma. However, adults who have previously obtained an Academic Upgrading Program Level 4 Certificate, a Pre-Technology Certificate, a General Educational Development (GED) Certificate or a Vocational School Certificate are eligible to apply. The Nova Scotia Community College and the Collège de l’Acadie are the primary delivery agencies for the Adult Learning Program and the school boards will provide the Public School Program. Pathways for Adults The Nova Scotia High School Diploma for Adults - Implementation Handbook The Diploma Implementation Handbook describes the policies and procedures related to the High School Diploma for Adults. It is primarily a guide for educational institutions designated to deliver the credits for the Nova Scotia High School Diploma for Adults. It will also assist educators and career counselors outside educational institutions and programs, in advising adults who require a high school diploma to meet their educational and career goals. The Diploma Implementation Handbook consists of the following: • an explanation of the eligibility and credit requirements for the diploma, • a description of the credit transfer and prior learning assessment recognition processes, • a description of the process for issuing the diploma and the transcript, and • a question-and-answer section regarding the diploma. Intake Assessment Guidelines Each of the delivery agencies, the school boards and the community colleges, offers different programs to serve a variety of the needs of adults seeking the High School Diploma for Adults. Therefore, adult students entering these programs must be carefully assessed before they are placed in programs. Counsellors making referrals to programs should be knowledgeable about both the Public School Program and the Adult Learning Program before counselling adults to take one program or the other or a combination of both programs. In order to ensure consistency of standards and process, organizations offering the Nova Scotia High School Diploma for Adults will be provided with the Intake Assessment Guidelines. This document will provide deliverers with recommendations for good practices of assessment, guidelines on how to develop an assessment profile and a detailed breakdown of the three basic components of the intake assessment process: 1. The Interview 2. Learner Self-Assessment 3. Curriculum Learning Outcomes Testing 1. The Interview. The interview is the most important element of an intake process because it is a learner-centred, flexible method of gathering information about the adult that cannot be obtained through other forms of assessment. The purpose of the interview is to help the adult learner feel at ease about returning to school. It will also provide the assessor with a comfortable method of gathering information about the adult’s previous experiences, educational background, and goals. The interview should consist of a discussion of goal setting, educational background, family and personal background, disability related needs, work history, and personal interests. 2. Self-assessment. Providing opportunities for adults to participate in self-assessment during the intake process is also important for many reasons. When learners become active participants in the assessment process, they develop an increased understanding of themselves, their skills and the goals they wish to accomplish. This allows them to take more responsibility for their learning, increases their self-confidence, develops their self reflective-thinking skills, and helps them identify what resources and assistance are required to help them reach their goals. The information collected through self-assessment activities at intake help to make placement decisions as well as provide useful information to the instructors. Knowing a student’s interests, attitudes, and learning styles will allow the assessor to make more appropriate placements and instructors to select better strategies and materials. Several sample tools are included in the Intake Assessment Guidelines document. 3. Curriculum Learning Outcomes Testing. Because many adults who did not complete high school find tests unpleasant, the placement tests used must be carefully developed or selected, administered and reported. Testing should only be one facet of any assessment, including intake assessment. The purpose of intake testing for adults wanting to earn the High School Diploma for Adults, is to provide an efficient means for students to demonstrate which of the learning outcomes in the required courses they have met and which ones they need to accomplish. Research now supports a movement away from standardized testing to informal methods of assessment designed by teachers in programs serving adults. The last section of the Intake Assessment Guidelines describes different issues that test developers should consider when they develop informal assessment tools and strategies to measure learning outcomes. Suggestions for tools and strategies as well as sample tools are included. The following diagram demonstrates the recommended process used by the institution in assessing learners. Intake Assessment Flowchart Use this flowchart as a guide to direct you through the intake assessment process and its basic components: interview, self assessment, and outcomes based testing. This process should be flexible and provide students with the opportunity to enter, re- enter and exit the process based on their individual need. SELF OUT COM ES- INTERVIEW review of In depth interview ASSESSMENT interview BASED progress credentials Identify: checklist TESTING interview - disability related needs completed - previous a ssessm ents - possibilities of PLAR referral to another program or to Dept. of Education Referral to: placement placement - disabilities specialist - PLAR determination * determination * - other * After placement, assessment of the students’ progress through interviews, self assessment and testing will continue through the program. Source: Taken from the Nova Scotia Department of Education, Intake Assessment Guidelines: for Organizations Offering the Nova Scotia High School Diploma for Adults.